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  • Domestic travel

    Has anyone heard of immigrants being detained at airports by the INS, prior to traveling on domestic flights? I'm planning a trip and want to be prepared....

  • #2
    Has anyone heard of immigrants being detained at airports by the INS, prior to traveling on domestic flights? I'm planning a trip and want to be prepared....


    • #3
      If I was from the Middle East, I would want to especially make sure I have all my documents handy whereever I was travelling within the USA.


      • #4
        I have heard a true story about a foreign student that went to pick up someone coming in on a domestic flight. INS officials asked as he was leaving the airport if he had his immigration documents with him, which he didn't...and they detained him... it was a big mess, and after a while they let him go.

        So, even if you're only travelling inside the US, bring your immigration paperwork to show that you're legal. Or at least, bring copies just in case someone asks. Better safe than sorry.


        • #5
          Btw, this was several years ago...


          • #6
            I always show only my driver's licence and never been asked for any other documents. Even when we drove to Canada, the INS guys were more interested in my American-citizen husband then me, they barely looked at my green card. My check-in baggage was sent to an ex-ray on 2 state-to-state flights though, probably because of my accent, but it didn't cause any problems, since I didn't have anything illegal in it.


            • #7
              My husband has never had a problem. We have flown to Las Vegas, Reno and Los Angeles recently. The only thing the officials asked for on domestic flights is a driver's license or other ID card. (from both of us and everyone else.)


              • #8
                I really doubt that story is true. INS officials at the airports have no access to people picking up travelers. Even if they saw this student, Why would they go over and ask a person, not traveling for any paperwork? It is not the American way. Americans would tell him to get bent. Just does not happen. Especially a few years ago.

                Besides, how would the officer know if the student was not American. It's a country with so many cultures and races in it, to risk harrassing someone not involved in the international flight in anyway is just asking for a law suit. No way.


                • #9
                  About a month after 9/11 I received several e-mails from my lawyers office, my employer and from various international student organizations advising all non-citizens to carry proper documentation when travelling. Unfortunately, it is true that some young men who appeared to the airline staff to be of middle eastern descent were stopped when trying to board domestic flights and subsequently detained for not carrying documentation. Those were the days immediately following 9/11 so things are probably different now, but the rules do state that you need to carry documentation. The university here suggested that students and employees carry photocopies of proof of legal status (e.g. I-20, I-797).


                  • #10
                    Yea, that's different though. I understand people being stopped NOW if they are trying to board a plane. They are being asked by security people, not INS on a domestic flight. What ever race they are. I am irish American, not Arab American and I was stopped and searched at the gate and at the baggage screening. I had to take off my shoes!

                    But even now I doubt that an INS officer will leave his post at the international gate to go and harrass a person who is there to pick up a passenger. Passengers are not even allowed at the gate anymore these days. Back when they were, that would not have happened either.

                    Yes, it is a fact that an immigrant has to carry his green card. Non-immigrants have to carry their info. They always have. That was not the issue.


                    • #11
                      That is the issue, isn't it.....

                      Too much caffiene!


                      • #12
                        Hi Tina:

                        I am about to reply to your first posting but then I found your subsequent postings and appreciate your sense of humor.
                        Are all Tina coffee connoisseur? My wife Tina can drink coffee anytime of the day .


                        • #13
                          Tina, the story is indeed true. My boss (in the office of Int'l students on campus) told me that one of the international students that used to work for him on campus a few years ago went to the airport to pick someone up coming in on a domestic flight had this happen to him. My boss was so upset with the INS officials that he went to the airport himself the next day to get an explanation to why they had detained the student, and the INS officers told him they have the right to detain people (I think it was within 25 miles of a POE or something like that) they find suspicious, and that can't prove they are here legally.

                          So this wasn't just something I heard about from some unreliable source, I know for a fact that it happened.


                          • #14
                            All immigrants and non-citizens must carry proper identification at all times including proof of status. An INS officer or any other peace officer can ask you to produce documentation AT ANY TIME. That includes people waiting to pick up people at airports, people buying smokes at 7-11, lying on the beach, anywhere...

                            Now it is obvious that this does not happen all over the place but it will get worse. The INS has a significant amount of power including some very nasty abilities to detain you for very long periods of time without letting anyone know that they have done so. They do not even have to charge you with anything.

                            I do not carry my papers with me all the time, but have you tried getting on the plane without the exact ID they want... The truth of the matter is - if you are getting on a plane; carry your passport and proof of status. Even if you are on a commuter shuttle... It is the reality of the times...

                            George Orwell was only off 20 years or so...


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